Rock out with your Windows Phone or Windows device out
It wouldn't be fair to call Microsoft a Scrooge, not when the company is rolling out a pair of sweet deals for the holiday season, one of which includes 100 free albums. The caveat? You have to be a Windows or Windows Phone user. If you are, you can claim your 100 free albums from Microsoft by installing the company's Music Deals companion app. These aren't crappy albums, either.
Just ahead of the holidays, Microsoft today unveiled its new Work & Play Bundle, a collection of four premium consumer services packaged up and offered together for $199 per year. Specifically, The Work & Play Bundle includes subscriptions to Office 365 Home, Xbox Live Gold, Xbox Music Pass, and Skype Unlimited World + Wi-Fi, plus associated goodies like 1TB of OneDrive online storage (comes with Office 365 Home).
If you're on the fence about which subscription-based streaming music service to cozy up with, Microsoft has an offer it hopes you'll find too good to refuse. That offer is a free Nokia Lumia 520 or 521 handset when you purchase a 12-month pass to Xbox Music. That's not a bad deal on a couple of levels, the first being that you're essentially receiving two months free by paying for a year in advance -- Xbox Music typically runs $9.99 per month.
A visual walkthrough of 20 new Windows 8.1 features and changes
Microsoft has recieved a lot of negative flack for the radical changes it’s made in Windows 8 with the complete disconnect from traditional UI elements like the Start button. With the release of the Windows 8.1 preview, which you can try out now if you are willing to use beta software, Microsoft is making strides to appease the user base it left out in the cold.
Love or hate Windows 8, you have to give Microsoft credit for its tenacity. Most companies would’ve tucked their tail between their legs and run home crying after the disaster that was Zune, but Microsoft doubled down to bring a better-than-before effort rebranded as Xbox Music to its Live Tile-equipped ecosystem. With unlimited music streaming and the ability to buy individual tracks, Xbox Music looks like a hit on the Surface. (Get it?) But how does the new contender stack up to Spotify?
Note: This article was originally featured in the January 2013 issue of the magazine.
Microsoft on Sunday introduced the world to Xbox Music, a streaming music service available exclusive to Windows 8 and Windows RT device owners. It's being billed as the first all-in-one music service, and it one-ups streaming services like Spotify by giving Windows 8/RT PC and tablet owners the ability to play specific songs on-demand without having to pay a subscription fee. Microsoft says its music catalog extends to tens of millions of songs (over 30 million), all instantly available to stream and/or to create an unlimited number of playlists.